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Church-Based Intervention Linked to Healthy Lifestyle Changes

Associated with decreased high-fat food consumption, increased physical activity

FRIDAY, May 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) — A pilot church-based diabetes self-management intervention in a Latino community is associated with improvement in lifestyle factors that affect diabetes risk, according to a study published online April 28 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Arshiya A. Baig, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Chicago, and colleagues examined the impact of a multifaceted church-based diabetes self-management intervention on diabetes outcomes. Participants included 100 adults (mean age, 54 years; 81 percent female; 98 percent Latino) with self-reported diabetes, from a low-income Mexican-American neighborhood. Participants were randomized to an intervention, which involved enrollment in a church-based self-management program with eight weekly group classes, or enhanced usual care, which included one 90-minute lecture on diabetes self-management at a local church.

The researchers found that at three months there were decreases in A1C from baseline for study participants in both arms (−0.32 percent). From baseline to three- and six-month follow-up, the difference in change in A1C, low-density lipoprotein, blood pressure, and weight was not significantly significant between the intervention and enhanced usual care groups. Compared with enhanced usual care, the intervention participants reported fewer days of high-fat food consumption in the previous week (−1.34) and more days participating in exercise (1.58) from baseline to six months.

“Future church-based interventions may need to strengthen linkages to the health care system and provide continued support to participants to impact clinical outcomes,” the authors write.

The local Walgreens provided a discount for photograph development for the intervention class; Bayer provided free boxes of test strips.

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